Today, 1 in 3 children and adolescents, ages 2-19, are overweight or obese - triple the rate from just one generation ago.
Higher rates of overweight and obesity have occurred over the last few decades among Latino, Black, and American Indian children.
4% of elementary schools, 8% of middle schools, and 2% of high schools provide daily physical education or its equivalent.
The prevalence of obesity in children has grown dramatically and has become a leading cause of chronic diseases such as diabetes. Please join me in the effort to address this challenge. Isadore Hall, III California Senator, 35th District
Fact: The prevalence of overweight and obesity has reached epidemic proportions;
85% of diabetes cases are associated with an unhealthy lifestyle and obesity.
The Consequences: Overweight and obese children and adults are at significantly greater risk for such chronic diseases as diabetes and heart disease then those persons who are at a healthier weight.
The Causes … and What We Can Do: One major reason is due to the nature of our eating habits. A 2nd challenge is that of inactivity. More emphasis must be placed upon active endeavors such as exercise and less emphasis on inactive endeavors such as watching television.
Here is what you can do, beginning TODAY!
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Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese.
The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese.
There is no single reason for the rise in childhood overweight, but there are a number of contributing factors:
Screen time is a major factor contributing to childhood obesity. It takes away from the time children spend being physically active, leads to increased snacking in front of the TV, and influences children with advertisements for unhealthy foods
Foods high in calories, sugars, salt, and fat, and low in nutrients are advertised and marketed extensively toward children and adolescents, while advertising for healthier foods is almost nonexistent in comparison.
Sugar drinks are the largest source of added sugar in the diets of children and adolescents. Increasing consumption of these high caloric beverages that offer little or no nutrients is associated with the increasing rates of childhood obesity.
Some people have less access to stores and supermarkets that sell healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables, especially in rural, low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Choosing healthy foods is difficult for parents who live in areas with an overabundance of unhealthy options like convenience stores and fast food restaurants.
Most adolescents fall short of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommendation of at least 60 minutes of aerobic physical activity each day. Only 18% of students in grades 9—12 met this recommendation in 2007. Daily, quality physical education in school can help students meet the guidelines, however, in 2009 only 33% had access to and attended daily physical education classes.
Portion sizes of less healthy foods and beverages have increased over time in restaurants, grocery stores, and vending machines. Research shows that children eat more without realizing it if they are served larger portions. This means they are consuming a lot of extra calories, especially when eating high-calorie foods.